The Range and Diversity of Characters in White Noise

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Don Delillo’s White Noise has a plethora of character’s in the short novel that are dynamic and static. We are introduced to the main character Jack Glady and his family who are major characters and drive the story forward. They are all of varying degrees of dynamic in which they change from the beginning to the end like Babbette. Some don’t change from beginning to end and most are secondary characters who are introduced and then never return like Bee who stays the same throughout the whole novel. We are introduced to Jack Gladly the main character in the first chapter of White Noise. Jack is the narator and we learn and experience his fears thought his monologue and thoughts to himself thought out the novel. We Know Jack fears death and he fears being an unvigilant and unimportant man.He is the chairman of Hitler studies at College on the hill and has a home in the city with his wife Babette and their kids from previous marriages. All of our direct characterization through the novel happens thought eyes of our narrator, Jack. When thinking about his son Heinrich, Jack tells us, ‘The boy is fourteen, often evasive and moody, at other times disturbingly compliant’ (61) we do not learn these things by directly interacting with Henrich but because we see these interactions thought Jacks own interactions with his son. Jack is a dynamic character because he changes thought out the story and a good example of this is his fear of death. Jack’s fear of death is constantly questioned thought out the story, he worries who will die first between himself and his wife and often is torn between if he would like to go first or not. This fear of death evolves near the end of the story when Jack has decided to kill Willie Mink. We can argue that someone who fears death for himself and his wife then has a sudden change of heart to kill someone has progressed thought out the story.It is because Jack has made this change that it can be considered that jack is a round character who changes and grown through the story.His growth from being an insignificant man who fears death is vastly different from the end of the novel when he is somewhat okay with the thought of death and seemingly content with his direction of life.

Babette, Jack’s fourth wife, is another round character from as well. Babette is a loving mother and spouse who reads to the blind in town and teaches fitness classes. We learn in the story that Babbete has been taking a drug called Dylar to combat her fear of death. she hides this drug from her Husband and children but when confronted with the pill bottle is when Babbete confesses to using the drug.This secretive shift in Babbetes personality is dynamic because she goes from someone who cares for her family, friend and elderly people of the town to someone who is evasive and cynical. DeLillo uses Babbete to show an unstable identify of nature within herself.

There are many characters who we hear about and interact with in the story for a scene or two that disappear and never return to the forefront of the story. There is Bee Jacks 12-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. We meet Bee when she flies in to spend time with her father and is only present in the short novel for about 2 chapter before she completely disasters from the novel. She is never heard from again and never spoken of and it’s because of this that she can be labeled as static characters who does not change and stays the same. she is flat because thought out the 2 chapters she remains the same.Another character is Tweedy the mother of Bee and Jacks ex-wife. Tweedy is also mentioned only once or twice thought out the story and we know that she is remarried to a CIA agent who often disappears for missions. We learn about her personality thought Jack who describes her as someone who likes to argue and get into battles. We briefly meet her when Jake retrieves her from the airport in a separate scene from Bee. They talk about Tweedy’s new husband and how she is unhappy with his constant absence. She tries to get Jack to think about their old life and this shows how Tweedy has not changed from the person she was. It is shown when she tries to get Jack who is unwilling to reconsider there relationship. Both have remarried and moved on and Jack is happy in his relationship but Tweedy is causing conflict by even bringing the subject up to him. Delilo uses many characters but the love and flair for language in white noise that he uses to show us more about Jack than just what he does for a living. Delilo shows us something distressing about death and something intense about the way we deal with it. It is all accomplished through these round and flat characters from the story.


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